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«Thinking / Transferring / Acting » – Interview with Young Boy Dancing Group

YBDG performing in Chile @Nave during «Anxiety Tour» ©Ramon Sauma

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Young Boy Dancing Group
Carolina Martinez

July 2020

By Carolina Martinez

In recent months, the whole world has been telling a story together, without having agreed upon it. Usually, different stories and events that take place in various sites are assembled under a common narrative which is interpreted as the reality of a moment, space, and time.  

At this moment, the «COINCIDENCIA» program wishes to enable the meeting of ideas, hopes, fears, criticisms, and different forms of human and artistic expression in order to discuss, together, what new ways, models, and languages we can project for a post-Coronavirus world. 

Young Boy Dancing Group, W Imma Asher, Sophia Park, Gabriella Alexis, Maria Metsalu, Nicolas Roses, Manuel Scheiwiller, Boffo, Pines, Fireisland, NY, 2019
Young Boy Dancing Group, Fire Island, NY, 2019

 CAROLINA MARTINEZ: We are in a period of collective adaptation, situation and moment around which there has been enough reflection on the individual and global impact, where we are managing to see a mutation, and with it, the danger of change. Can we recognize that dangerous potency? Where and in what ways is this latency manifested?

YOUNG BOY DANCING GROUP: I guess we, as artists, are used to handling life with a third of the minimum wage. And therefore, hustle around. The danger in this sense is omnipresent. And now even more. But having this as a basic condition led YBDG to focus and aim to diversify our audiences and incomes from the beginning, to not rely on just one source of income.  

CM: The opening of what happens in the fields of art and science, and of knowledge, in general, is possible thanks to communication and, above all, transmission, which is what «COINCIDENCIA» has proposed since its beginning as a program. In this sense, the exchange of dialogues has been manifested through trips, residencies, exhibitions, and other projects: instances that today have had to seek a reconfiguration. In the face of this new scenario, how do you think we could achieve this exchange today and in the future? What new experiences can have an impact on the transfer? 

YBDG: Wherever a project is done, locals should be integrated, and they need to get financially well paid. 

We collected the experience that European artists and professionals traveling to Latin America only for their own benefit are not welcome. If you bring work or a budget with you, your presence is highly welcomed. This comes, of course, out of the European/ American history. 

So, in our opinion – the more socially promising a project proposal is and the more locally integrated the better.  

YBDG performing in Argentina during «Anxiety Tour» ©YBDG
YBDG performing in Argentina during «Anxiety Tour» ©YBDG

CM: The instability that the world and we are feeling makes us aware of our fragility, where the future has acquired a new meaning. We came to a halt together and we are living what we could call a «waiting» time. How have you manifested in your work this present that somehow, for now, has only itself? Is it possible to think about the future and, thereby, imagine new forms that your work could take? 

YBDG: Covid19 and BLM (Black Lives Matter) teach us that solidarity and fight for change are more important than being productive in your own work.  

Personally, I would say that our work is 20% performing, 80% bureaucracy. For us, it is good to use this time and professionalize ourselves in terms of our bureaucratic efficiency. 

In addition, we went back to where we started from – shooting films, as they are less affected than performances by the protective measures. As a new format, we have taken up collective drawing practice, which will be further developed this summer.  

Also, this time teaches us to proceed with the building of the community and to collaborate as much as possible and share financial gains. Supporting the people around you is more important than your own enrichment. 

CM: Before the protective measures against the current pandemic, the forms of communication and interaction between people had acquired a level of virtuality and online interaction that was too high. And now that these ways have cushioned and helped the new forms of communication required, society seems to be missing the real and more human contact. How do you see what is happening? Once we move to pass this, will we return to that pre-internet state, or will this virtual and behavioral regime become even more intensified? 

YBDG: For us, online and offline is the same. We find more like-minded people online than offline. I guess we cannot make predictions as each scene has its own way to function. 

For us, the Internet is a major part of our work. It is where it started andfor sure, will continue. In this instance, we can say that virtuality is more real and human than ever. We did certainly cross the border in which virtuality is not an option but a human condition, in this sense, it is also a tool for expression and an instrument to explore oneself and freedom. Virtuality breaks us apart physically, but brings us together as wellin so many new forms, and that is what we are interested in as artists.  

YBDG performing in Argentina during «Anxiety Tour» ©YBDG
YBDG performing in Argentina during «Anxiety Tour» ©YBDG

CM: A group like yours is capable of generating a symbiosis that leads to a particular language and communication that can generate something like an «ecosystem». Has that language been transformed as a group? In what ways? How this new possible language can change YBDG’s spirit and artistic practice? What opportunities and crises have you faced as a human group and how are you driving your projects? And from there, how does the relationship with the other, the spectator change and how would exchange between him/her and you be possible under these conditions? 

YBDG: We always felt, and now more than ever, an urge to open up dance studios in different countries where people that work with dance can give classes, rehearse their work, gather, and use the space for yet undefined matters. The essence is to buy a property that will be fixed, allowing private property to become public. We need more public spaces where we can form community, art is only an expression of communities. In a world that privatizes even the drinking water, public spaces are nothing but a radical affair.  


YBDG performing in Chile @Nave during «Anxiety Tour» ©Ramon Sauma
YBDG performing in Chile @Nave during «Anxiety Tour» ©Ramon Sauma

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